Towards Good Governance - II


Dr.Rao VBJ Chelikani

I.        The Original Sin in Governance

           Good governance or rather better governance is difficult to achieve in its totality in the near future, particularly in most developing countries, including present-day India, as Power or Force, political power imposes itself as the source for all governance. The political power and, in short, all power is now a monopoly of the political entity called the State, and it is operated by the bureaucracy and the Representatives of the political parties. This has not been the case in ancient India when India was not a single political entity; the kingdoms did not claim monopoly and did not interfere in the governance of economics, social and cultural matters and religious schools. Only by confronting the invasions of Ghori, Ghazni and the like since the 11th century onwards, that the state structures in India began stronger and stronger.

A.       The Origin of Power:

           If we look at the human being of any era in human history, we can easily understand that God did not create a perfect human being. However, we can readily admit that all living creatures are of divine essence, and according to the Upanishadic message, man is perfectible and that he can become god.

           Charles Darwin and other scientists helped us to understand that man evolved out of animals. The origin of power can be traced to the beginning of the evolution of some species as human beings; at least, it is visible from the Neanderthals onwards. They seem to have the genes of some cannibal species as well, adding further to our violent and predatory instincts inherited from inferior species. More importantly, it is a heritage from the animal instinct for survival in order to master the environment, domesticate other species and dominate over other humans for survival. Religions have tried to subjugate these instincts, but they have not been successful so far, since they have organised themselves as power centres in order to convince, control and expand their believers, not only in their beliefs but also in their way of life. Thus, on the whole, most of the societies in the world have remained under the domination or total control of the brutal political force to control other forces, though there are stray instances of societies under the direct or indirect rule of religious forces. Thus, power has been a necessary evil; an evil nevertheless.

           Thus, the human being is not allowed gradually to transcend from this bloody, violent, aggressive and predatory behaviour, as the whole society is governed by the modern state which accumulated all powers over the human beings living in its territory. Since the 2nd World War, democratic or not, all states are being operated by the bureaucratic class and political classes. Both of them enjoying the power and exercising authority to regulate all human relations by politics. Finally, all states, starting with Nation-States, have become so strong and so powerful that each state has its ambition to become more powerful over its own citizens as well as over other states in the world, near and far. The people in the society have become either the pawns to be mobilised at its will or cannon fodder if it wants to fight against other states. The freedoms and aspirations of human beings, their humanistic values or social development to achieve other human accomplishments in social, economic and cultural spheres have become secondary. Or, they are being directed by the state, while glorifying the acts of the statesmen and the politicians. Human history is written according to the phases of these invasions of one state over other state. Internally it is described as a history of change from one regime to another; from one king to another. The citizens are made to work for the glory of the state and its development is national development. Society is made to find its development in the national development. A citizen has acquired more rights than a normal human being or a resident. The individual is left to find his or her own development in national development, and not vice versa. Since we are living in a political democracy, the citizens are free to try to share a part of political power by contesting in the elections, or by joining a winnable political party. Even after 75 years of rule by the people’s Representatives, all the citizens are not empowered, but groups of them have access to superior power to attend to their particular interests. But, those who capture political power can retain the royal privilege of deciding the destinies of the populations who voted for them, without leaving the opportunity to the civil society to verify the motivations, utility and efficiency of the state-acts.

B.  How to Emancipate the Human Being into a Noble Animal?

           In the heritage of the human species, there are also animal instincts that prompt us to survive better by avoiding suffering and searching for living with satisfaction and joy. Initially, it started with trying to be fittest in nature in order to survive. Now, human beings are technically in a position to be able to mould Nature in harmony with human aspirations, in a sustainable manner. The man remains a social animal and his social relations have become more complex and complicated. Thus, there is a growing social interdependence. We need to be together and to work with others and to share their sorrows and pleasures. Above all, all species and more so human beings have,  each one of them, soft powers which are inherent, innate and infinite to express and share the inexhaustible capacity to show love, affection, compassion and care towards all other humans beings as well as to all other species. These expressions produce the joy of living.

           Thus, aggressivity and violence in man created the need for power and, it is needless to say that power has become a facet of life for all human beings, either to exercise it or to obey it. Since the efforts put in by humanist Gautam Buddha, statesman Ashoka, pacifist Jesus Christ and communist Karl Marx, some landmark schools of thought conceived life of the human beings beyond and outside the state, where one can work according to one’s ability and take from society according to one’s needs. Sigmund Freud also reflected on the ways to transcend the predatory nature in man. The above historic persons and many more before and after them, have been trying to encourage the people to live by cultivating, spreading and sharing noble sentiments like love, affection, compassion, cooperation and sharing for better living.


C.  Why this is not Happening?

           Here, our main contention is that these noble and natural faculties in man are not being allowed to grow spontaneously in people-to-people relations, as they are being totally controlled by the state. The operators of the state are imposing themselves as the middlemen, norm-makers, law-makers, regulators, rule-makers, controllers and judges. As a result, most human beings became good citizens or subjects who remain eternal dependents and beneficiaries of a strong and powerful state. The state is separating them as patriots or ‘enemies of the state’. Those whom it considers as against its authority within the state are not allowed to exist. More frequently, they are being persecuted and even tortured, though the degrees of mental and physical torture are varied.

           Further, the state defines the limits of friendship with other people in other states, depending upon its diplomatic relations. After independence, while championing the Non-Aligned movement, our diplomacy continued to be at home in dealing with Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes, near and far; but not with liberal democratic states. It is entirely due to the temperamental compatibility between the two state bureaucracies. Ever since, our dependence upon Russia was so much that we cannot publicly speak what we think. We are unable to vote in favour of the UN Resolutions. The state bureaucracy is so intimidating and dissuading that it is not possible for any civil society activists to assess our defence preparedness.

           At the same time, meanwhile, the dynamic people in India looked to the other side of the world. The people-to-people relations with the liberal democracies have helped India to be what it is today. During the first fifty years of our independence, we have benefited greatly from the generosity of the people in the Western world for grants, food, education, trade, employment and for remittances back to the country. Some of those countries have integrated Indians so well that they did not fear electing them to be their ministers, prime ministers and presidents.

           For example, right now, our diplomacy is spending so much of tax-payers money and is devoting disproportionate energies and focusing upon the G-20 meetings, which are held in India, whose presidency has come to India by routine in alphabetical order. These meetings are only between the Indian bureaucrats and the foreign bureaucrats, who will, any way meet next year and in other country. Here, the people are absent. Though these meetings are held in different places in India for tourist purposes, the people of those places, the legislators, the academicians, the scientists, the economic actors and other intelligentsia have no opportunity to participate in them. Our foreign visitors are interviewed before the glare of the Indian media channels to state how powerful India is becoming.

           The above facts are quoted only to show that the interests of the state and the interests of the society have not yet become identical, even though we have 75 years of rituals of democratic practices. The people have not become more democratic enough to participate in the governance. The operators of the state machinery-the bureaucracy and the political representatives of the political parties are not allowing it to happen.


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